Taylor Swift fans went furious this week after demand outstripped supply for the superstar’s Era’s Tour presale, tagged by Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster and promoted by Live Nation rival AEG.
On Tuesday, November 15, Ticketmaster’s site crashed during the sale of “Verified Fan” tickets for Swift’s tour, with the debacle prompting calls, including from members of Congress, for Live Nation and Ticketmaster to be separated.
On Thursday, Nov. 17, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, wrote a letter to the President and CEO of Live Nation, Michael Rapino, raising concerns about what she is saying. is “the lack of competition in the ticketing industry”.
Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010. The deal was investigated and later approved by the United States Department of Justice, with some caveats.
After the pre-sale and subsequent furore this week, Ticketmaster has announced that it is cancelation the general sale scheduled for Friday 18 November citing “extraordinarily high demands on the ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket stock to meet this demand”.
To add fuel to the fire with fans and government watchers, tickets reportedly ended up on secondary venues listed for over $20,000.
The ticketing giant published a now-deleted blog post on Thursday (November 17), which you can read in full at the bottom of this story, to explain what happened during the presale, claiming that “90% of tickets fewer are currently posted for resale in secondary markets than a typical resale”.
Ticketmaster explained that more 3.5 million people had pre-registered for Taylor’s Verified Fan sale, which was, he added, the “biggest sign-up in history”.
He added that 1.5 million fans were then invited to participate in the sale and that other 2 millions Verified fans have been put on the waitlist.
In an interview with CNBC this week, Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, Live Nation’s largest shareholder, said the pre-sale “exceeded all expectations.”
He added: “We had 14 million people on the site, including bots, who aren’t supposed to be there.”
“While AOC may not like all elements of our business, it is interesting to note that our competitor AEG, which is the promoter of Taylor Swift, chose to use us because we are, in reality, , the largest and most efficient ticket seller in the world.Even our competitors want to come to our platform.
Greg Maffei, Liberty Media
Demand was so high for the tickets that, based on the volume of traffic to Ticketmaster’s site, the company claimed in its blog post that Taylor Swift “would need to perform more 900 stadium shows (nearly 20 times the number of shows she does)”.
That volume equates to Taylor Swift having to perform a stadium show “every night for the next 2.5 years“, noted the company.
More 2 millions tickets were sold for Taylor Swift’s tour on November 15, “the most tickets ever sold for an artist in a single day,” according to Ticketmaster.
Responding to calls from people like US politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) for Live Nation and Ticketmaster to be separated, Maffei added in her interview with CNBC that “the reality is that it’s not really a concert promoted by Live Nation. Taylor Swift is promoted by one of our biggest competitors [AEG].
“So while AOC may not like all elements of our business, it’s interesting to note that AEG, our competitor, which is the promoter of Taylor Swift, chose to use us because we are, in effect, the largest and most efficient ticket seller in the world.. Even our competitors want to come to our platform.
Verified Fan, Ticketmaster explains in a 2020 blog post, “does not guarantee that everyone who is verified will get a ticket, but it does level the playing field so that more tickets go to fans who intend to go. to the show – not the ticket bots”.
In its now-deleted blog post, published this week, Ticketmaster explained, “By requiring signups, Verified Fan is designed to help manage high-demand shows – identifying real humans and weeding out bots.
“Keeping bots out of queues and avoiding overcrowding helps shorten waits and facilitate sales. That’s why Taylor’s touring team, AEG and The Messina Touring Group, chose to use Verified Fan for their sales.
Ticketmaster also acknowledged that “while it may not be possible for everyone to get tickets to these shows, we know we can do more to improve the experience and that is what we are focused on.”
You can read the full Ticketmaster blog post below:
Taylor Swift’s listing explained
November 17, 2022
The release of Eras highlighted one thing: Taylor Swift is an unstoppable force and continues to set records. We strive to make buying tickets as easy as possible for fans, but that hasn’t been the case for many people trying to buy tickets for the Eras Tour. We want to share some information to help explain what happened:
We knew a record number of fans were looking for Taylor tickets
- By requiring sign-ups, Verified Fan is designed to help manage high-demand shows – identifying real humans and weeding out bots. Keeping bots out of queues and avoiding overcrowding helps shorten waits and facilitate sales. That’s why Taylor’s touring team, AEG and The Messina Touring Group, chose to use Verified Fan for their sales.
- Based on fan interest when signing up, we knew this would be significant. More than 3.5 million people have pre-registered for Taylor’s Verified Fan, which is the largest registration in history.
- The huge demand for Taylor’s tour informed the artist team’s decision to add extra dates – doubling the tour and the number of tickets available so more fans could get to the shows.
- Historically, about 40% of invited fans show up and buy tickets, and most buy an average of 3 tickets. Thus, in collaboration with the team of artists, approximately 1.5 million people were invited to participate in the sale for the 52 show dates, including the 47 sold by Ticketmaster.
- The remaining 2 million verified fans have been put on the waitlist.
Demand for Taylor has broken records – and parts of our website
- Historically, working with Verified Fan invite codes has worked because we have been able to manage the volume coming into the site to purchase tickets. However, this time the sheer number of bot attacks as well as fans who did not have invite codes drove unprecedented traffic to our site, resulting in a total of 3.5 billion system requests, or 4 times our previous peak.
- Never before has a verified fan on sale garnered so much attention – or uninvited volume. This disrupted the predictability and reliability that characterizes our verified fan platform.
- It usually takes us about an hour to sell in a stadium, but we’ve slowed down some sales and pushed back others to stabilize the systems. The trade-off was longer wait times in the queue for some fans.
- Overall, we estimate that around 15% of interactions on the site encountered problems, and that’s 15% too many, including password validation errors that caused fans to lose the tickets they wanted. they had bought.
Despite the disruption, Swifties pulled through and helped Taylor set a new record
- More than 2 million tickets were sold for Taylor’s shows on November 15 – the most tickets ever sold for any artist in a single day.
- Each ticket was sold to a buyer with a verified fan code. No one (not even a bot) can join a queue without being verified. The 2 million tickets we sold went only to verified fans.
- 90% fewer tickets are currently listed on secondary markets than a typical listing, which is exactly why the artist team wanted to use Verified Fan to sell their tickets. Ticketmaster does not currently resell any Taylor tickets.
- Beyond Taylor’s release, we also sold an additional 1 million tickets for other events on our site on Tuesday.
The biggest venues and artists turn to us because we have the most advanced ticketing technology in the world – that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and clearly for Taylor’s online sale it wasn’t. not the case. But we are still working to improve the ticket buying experience. Especially for sales in high demand, which continue to test new limits.
Even when a high-demand release goes perfectly from a technological standpoint, many fans end up empty-handed. For example: based on the volume of traffic to our site, Taylor would need to perform over 900 stadium shows (nearly 20 times the number of shows she does)…that’s a show in a stadium every night for the next 2.5 years.
While it’s not possible for everyone to get tickets to these shows, we know we can do more to improve the experience and that’s what we’re focused on.
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